Aid Works teamed up with Thomson Reuters Foundation to conduct a rapid survey on racism in the aid sector in August 2020. Through this survey, we aimed to provide a platform for aid workers to share their experiences and ultimately, to provide an evidence base for change in the sector.
After working across the donor, private and NGO sectors for over 15 years and being heavily involved in how procurement is designed, here’s what I’ve noticed:
Often communities are involved in very quick design processes (as procurement is running late) through rapid needs assessments and selective focus groups.
Evaluations of previous funding cycles play a critical role – evaluation teams are often made up of seasoned professionals – who may bring their own biases. Fresh ideas and diverse teams are often missing from the design process.
I’ve been privileged to coordinate procurement processes which involve the host government collaborating with the funders. Communities and users often have no say in which agency provides their services – they have little-no purchasing power. Perhaps I am wrong?
The procurement is competitive in some cases. Detailed Request for Proposals. Some agencies are funded without any procurement process at all. Often agencies feel like they are all competing for the same pot of money – so they end up providing the same kinds of services. Health agencies start providing wider services like education; education agencies start providing health services – so differentiation becomes difficult and specialisations diminish.
This private sector approach tendering is mismatched with the nature of the work. The market has become narrow and focused – stifling creativity and innovation.
The power is with those agencies who write proposals well and can pass due diligence – so local/grass roots agencies often do not lead big projects.
Here you can read the initial results of a survey done by Thomson Reuters Foundation and Aid Works, showing key messages about racism in the aid sector. In the video below, our Programmes Director Mo highlights three key findings. Continue reading →
We’ve been reading books exploring racism, anti-racism and raising children. We’d like to share a list of these books with you. It isn’t a comprehensive catalogue – please get in touch with us if you would like to recommend any books on these topics and we will add them to the list! Continue reading →
There’s been a lot of conversations about anti-racism recently, between individuals, in organisations, in the media, on the street. We ourselves have talked to a lot of people – of all colours – as we love to connect and support. But we’ve noticed something that perhaps needs more light. Continue reading →
‘I know in an age of social media it can seem like you need a platform to do meaningful work. Not true in the least. Your home is your platform, your extended family is your platform, your office is your platform’. – Rachel Cargle*
Rachel could have easily have been talking about racism in the aid sector. Continue reading →
The survey is aimed at all current and recent aid workers, including those who have not personally experienced racism. It includes questions on your own experiences and questions on whether humanitarian groups are doing enough on this issue. It’s anonymous but there is an option to share details if you wish. Continue reading →